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A Talgo wheelset

Talgo is a Spanish manufacturer of railway vehicles. It is best known for a design of articulated railway passenger cars in which the wheels are mounted in pairs, but not joined by an axle, and being between rather than underneath the individual coaches. Another feature of the design is the suspension, which allows the vehicle to passively tilt into curves, aiding passenger comfort.


Corporate history

TALGO is the Spanish acronym for "Tren Articulado Ligero Goicoechea Oriol" (Goicoechea-Oriol light articulated train), Alejandro Goicoechea and José Luis Oriol being the founders of the company.

Talgo Patents S.A. was originally incorporated in 1942.

In March 2007 Talgo sold its Finnish rolling stock manufacturing subsidiary Talgo Oy to its local management and other Finnish investors. The company, which Talgo had owned for only seven years, reverted to its previous name of Transtech Oy. The company spends 10 to 12 percent of revenues on research and development,[1] but the main revenue source is the Spanish state railway operator RENFE.[2]


Talgo trains are best known for their unconventional articulated railway passenger cars design in which the wheels are mounted in pairs, but not joined by an axle, and being between rather than underneath the individual coaches. Talgo trains fitted with variable gauge axles can change rail gauge - for instance at the Spanish (1668 millimeters)/French (1435 millimeters) border.

Since the introduction of the Talgo Pendular in 1980, the train tilts naturally inwards on curves, making it more comfortable for the passengers. This system also allows the train to run faster on some lines, especially on curves and existing track.


Talgo trains are divided into a number of generations. They come in both locomotive hauled and self propelled versions.

Tail end of a Talgo III train
Interior of a Talgo III train

Talgo I

The Talgo I coaches were built in 1942, at the American Car & Foundry factory in Wilmington, Delaware.[3] Built as a prototype it broke numerous speed records.[1]

Talgo II

Talgo II coaches and locomotives were first built in 1950 at the American Car and Foundry Company works in the United States under the direction of Spanish engineers. It then entered service in Rock Island Line, servicing the Jet Rocket train, between Chicago and Peoria. One was also trialed on the New York Central Railroad until 1958 but saw little success.[1] Talgos were also built for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad for their "John Quincy Adams" train (New York, New York to Boston, Massachusetts), and the Boston and Maine Railroad for their "Speed Merchant" train (Boston, Massachusetts to Portland, Maine). [4]

Locomotive leading a Talgo III train

In Spain Talgo II trains entered revenue service soon after, with total success, and were not retired until 1972.[3]

Talgo III

Talgo III coaches and locomotives entered service in 1964, introducing longer cars and easy directional reversibility of the cars. The Talgo III RD variant was equipped with variable gauge axles, and ran the first though train from Madrid to Paris as well as Barcelona to Geneva in 1968, despite the difference in rail gauge.[1]

Talgo Pendular at Prague's main station

Talgo Pendular

The Talgo Pendular (Talgo IV and Talgo V, also VI & Talgo 200 or 6th generation), introduced in 1980, created the 'natural tilting' train - a tilting train that does not need electronic sensors or hydraulic equipment to move the carriages.[2]

The wheels are mounted on monoaxles between the carriages. Sitting on top of these monoaxles are suspension columns. The carriages are attached to the top of the suspension columns and swing outwards when the train travels round a bend, thereby giving the illusion to the passengers that the train is tilting into the bend.

In 1988 they were used on trials for Amtrak on Boston-New York corridor in the United States and on Deutsche Bahn lines in Germany.[3] Trial commercial services with Talgo cars in the United States commenced in 1994 between Seattle and Portland, and from 1998 different trains have been used on the Amtrak Cascades services from Vancouver, British Columbia south to Seattle, Washington, continuing south via Portland, Oregon to Eugene, Oregon.[5]

Talgo VII train on a Spanish Altaria service from Madrid - Barcelona passing Viladecans (Barcelona)

Talgo 200 series trains are also in use in Kazakhstan for the overnight train Almaty - Astana.[6]

Talgo VII

The Talgo VII introduced from 2000 is used as locomotive hauled train set as well as intermediate cars for the multiple units Talgo 250, Talgo 350 and Talgo XXI. Many things are similar to the Talgo Pendular cars, but there have been introduced an air controlled hydraulic brake system and power supply from head end power instead of diesel Engine-generators in the end cars. The Talgo VII train have the car with two pairs of wheels in the middle of the train and not any more on one end as older Talgo trains. [7]

Talgo VIII

The Series VIII passenger cars are similar to the Series VII cars, but are designed for the North American market. Talgo made an agreement in 2009 to build a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin which will initially supply two 14-car trainsets for the Amtrak Hiawatha Service. The company expressed hope the plant will later be used to build trains for other U.S. rail projects.[8][9]

Talgo 250

The Talgo 250 is a dual voltage electric train (AC/DC) equipped with variable gauge axles. Due to this, they are used for the services using high speed lines as well as conventional broad gauge lines. A Talgo 250 train consist of two power cars and 11 Talgo VII intermediate coaches. Developed for RENFE (classed as S-130) [10]

Latest model Talgo 350 train as used for AVE high-speed services between Madrid - Barcelona

Talgo 350

The Talgo 350 entered service as the RENFE AVE Class 102 marking the company's entry into the high-speed train manufacturing market. Tests with the prototype commenced in 1994,[3] and Talgo 350 trains have been operating at a top commercial speed of 330 km/h on the Madrid-Barcelona and Madrid-Valladolid line since December 22, 2007. This series of trains are designed to reach a speed of 350 km/h (220 mph), although present lines and commercial services limit the speed at 330 km/h (205 mph).[11][12] The train consists of two power cars and Talgo VII intermediate cars with improved brakes and additional primary suspension.[7]

RENFE class 355 / Talgo XXI / Talgo BT

Talgo XXI

Talgo XXI is a project for a high speed diesel-powered train, that operates in push-pull with one or two power cars and Talgo VII intermediate cars. The North American version states four axle power cars in compliance with United States FRA regulations. Only one train in compliance with European UIC standards has yet been built.[13] It has travelled at 256 km/h on the Olmedo - Medina del Campo high speed experimental line on 9 July 2002,[14] which has led to a claim for the world speed record for a diesel train. The train was after the test runs sold to the Spanish infrastructure authority ADIF as measuring train for high speed lines.

Variable Gauge Axles (VGA)

Talgo has been developing a range of Variable Gauge Axles rolling stock. By 2006, VGA locomotives were starting to become available. [15]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Mauro F. Guillén (2001). "The Limits of Convergence". Princeton University Press.,M1. Retrieved 2008-05-07.  
  2. ^ a b Mauro F. Guillén (2005). "The Rise of Spanish Multinationals". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 2008-05-07.  
  3. ^ a b c d "Historia de Talgo". Retrieved 2008-05-07.  
  4. ^ Kirkland, John F. (November 1985). The Diesel Builders Volume 1: Fairbanks-Morse and Lima-Hamilton. Interurban Press. ISBN 0916374696.  
  5. ^ "TALGO AMERICA - History". Retrieved 2008-05-07.  
  6. ^ "Kazakhstan Buys Two Talgo Trains". Retrieved 2008-05-07.  
  7. ^ a b "Talgo 7". Christian Torrego, 2002-2003 (Translation by P.L. Guillemin, Apr. 2003). Retrieved 2008-12-29.  
  8. ^ "Wisconsin wants Talgo trains". Railway Gazette International. July 21, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-15.  
  9. ^ "History: North American Milestones". Talgo America. Retrieved 2009-12-15.  
  10. ^ "Productos Talgo". Retrieved 2008-05-07.  
  11. ^ "Railway Technology - Spain's Great Rail Race - High-Speed Train Lines". Retrieved 2008-05-07.  
  12. ^ "Talgo evolves its unique design for ultra high speed - High Speed: Spain". Retrieved 2008-05-07.  
  13. ^ "TALGO AMERICA - Talgo XXI". Retrieved 2008-05-07.  
  14. ^ "Talgo: History". Retrieved 2008-06-02.  
  15. ^

External links


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